It was a glorious day for a run and bike ride in Minneapolis.
As a complete aside, though I live in a midwestern city, I am not a midwesterner and I never will be. I was born and raised in the South, and I simply cannot understand midwestern stoicism. Nor do I tolerate midwestern winters well. But I do find Minneapolis a charming city. It's very bike and pedestrian friendly, and the downtown area has two bridges crossing the Mississippi River.
The run course was described in the race lit as a loop going out across one of those bridges and back across the other, and the bike course was a flat and fast out and back along the river as well. I anticipated pretty things to look at along the way.
My race support (also known as my sweet, cute, and loving husband) woke me up and brought me coffee and bagel thins, while I dithered and put on my gear.
A side note about gear. If you have any intention of doing any sort of physical activity, for the love of God PLEASE go and get yourself some good athletic gear. Don't limp along using old cotton t shirts and shoes off the rack from The Wal-Marts. I will talk more later about what, exactly, to buy, but suffice it to say that your experience will be far more comfortable in technical fabrics.
As I dithered, I began to get nervous, and started to hear a bunch of negative self-chatter. You know the kind. As it turns out, this is just your brain trying to protect your body from strenuous exercise. It's a protective mechanism, and one that we as humans have developed over time. I'll talk more about that later too. For now, all you need to know is this: tell it to shut. up.
Which is what I did. And so I went downstairs from the FAAAbulous hotel we stayed in -- The Depot -- and across the street to the starting line.
I shouldn't say starting line, because they were sending people off in waves every 10 minutes. As luck would have it, I was in the second to last wave. Which of course meant that there were very few people who would get to pass me before I would be dead freaking last. Oh joy.
The atmosphere was convivial. If you've never done an athletic event before, you should know that for the most part, the people who participate and run them are extra super positive, nice, and accepting. Also, you should know that these people come in all shapes and sizes. They are not all muscle heads with 9 percent body fat (though there are those). For the most part, they look, and are, normal.
Physically, I was as ready as I could be. Mentally, too. And then the airhorn sounded, and I was off.